As the online world continues to move, develop, and grow, businesses need to learn how to adapt to the frequent changes. Facebook has been an important part of marketing for many businesses, but how much time should a business be investing in Facebook now?
The past few years of growth in the social media market have led analysts to believe that Facebook is not a worthwhile advertising tool anymore. But this doesn’t mean you should give up on building a group of Facebook fans or a community around which you can create awareness. The key is to find balance based upon your target market.
Does Facebook Work for Marketing Businesses Anymore?
A recent poll reported that one-third of Facebook users are spending less time on Facebook and more time on other social media apps—especially mobile ones such as Twitter. Facebook is not exciting, new, or interesting to users anymore, so many people are moving on.
Large Internet companies have come in three generations. First came Google and Yahoo—the search engines—to help the Internet get organized. Then, MySpace and Facebook pioneered the social media market leaving Google and Yahoo irrelevant from a social standpoint. Now as the third generation emerges, social apps, such as Twitter, are the most useful and relevant because of the stream of information. None of the largest companies have been able to transition to the next generation successfully.
How Users are Putting Facebook to Use
Facebook is not a marketplace (yet). Instead, it is a controlled way for people to connect with existing friends. Most users completely ignore the ads—and analysts have found them largely ineffective—and use it to interact with people they already know, not to look for new information.
The point here is that Facebook is a relational tool, not so much an advertising platform. So you should plan on spending time building connections and rapport, not just blasting posts with your latest product offerings.
Generally, news breaks first on Twitter because it is accessible and simple. Instead of only connecting with established friends, users can tweet with famous people, organizations, and businesses that they would otherwise be unable to have a personal connection with. Facebook lacks the speed and accessibility that businesses need to reach customers if the goal is fast exposure.
The Investment Decision
In order to decide how much time, if any, to invest in Facebook, study your target customer. Do they use Facebook? How often? Do they use another social media app more often? Has your business seen any benefits from being on Facebook? Look at your marketing strategy to see if your time and resources could be spent more effectively somewhere else.
The key lies in determining whether or not you should use Facebook as a relationship builder or just have a simple presence where people can find you if they search for you. There really is very little in between—either you build aggressively or let it sit. If you try to build a Facebook community half-way, it will be a huge waste of time.
If your target audience is engaged on Facebook and your particular business is about building relationships before and after the sale, then Facebook could very well be one of the best investments of time you could make. But if you’re looking for advertising opportunities, you’ll likely find other sites and social media platforms offer more effective means of connecting with customers.